Saturday, December 9, 2006

do not be anxious

Okay, a few days ago I wrote a post I didn't publish. It was a list of ridiculous fears (including Lucy contracting leprosy from us not giving her enough baths). I didn't publish it because it was sort of saggy and lacking energy, and I wanted to write more on it later, when I figured out better items to add to the list.
Now I've decided to abandon the list altogether, because fear is really hard to joke about.
I've been dealing with a huge sticky black tar ball of anxiety the last few days, lodged right behind my sternum. Turns out changing my daughter's sleeping habits produces a crapload of uncertainty. This is not fun at all for me, even though I've been seeing lots of progress with her sleep. See, I kind of like certainty. And (surprise!) there ain't a lot to be had with a baby.
I'll give you an example of anxiety.
Lucy sleeps really well at night. Every night, with very few exceptions. But every evening, when I'm nursing her to sleep, she thrashes around for a while. Every night, without fail, I tell Dyami that she's really agitated and not going to fall asleep. I get pretty upset, and scared, and ask him to pray for us, and then she falls asleep, and I fall asleep and sleep beautifully.
And then we repeat the same dialogue the next night.
The fact that she's changed her patterns the last few days (rather drastically) has not helped my nighttime confidence.
What the heck am I so afraid of? When she wasn't sleeping through the night, I was fine. I didn't die. I even laughed at her cute face when I got up in the middle of the night. So why do I get this scared?
Control, people. I think it's all about control. My lack of it, that is.
Part of the rituals are control. If I do a, b, and c, that guarantees me x amount of sleep. Except with a baby, there are no guarantees, and what worked last night might not work today.
I have a hard time letting go of what worked yesterday. I tried swaddling her last night even though she clearly was rejecting the idea. I got her in bed swaddled for about 30 seconds before I gave up and undid the ties. I considered asking Dyami to swaddle me. I think it might have helped.
Now, this morning, she woke up a little early, and I did our new pattern: nursing her back to sleep for a while. Yesterday it worked great and I got a leisurely breakfast and morning until about 9 am.
Today I tried doing the same thing, and was filled with crushing anxiety that it wouldn't work. I was praying. I finally got her to let go of my boob and fall asleep, but she still thrashed around a little bit every few minutes.
I was kind of hyperventilating as I got dressed and watched her thrash. The voices in my head had a little conversation.
Voice of Anxiety: She's not going to stay asleep.
Voice of Reason: Why not? She stayed asleep yesterday.
VOA: You don't know for sure she will stay asleep.
VOR: Well, no, but that's okay, right? What's the worst that could happen if she wakes up?
VOA: Nuclear holocaust. Global warming. John Tesh on sax.
VOR: You're kidding, right?
VOA: (No answer. Hyperventilating).
It helps if I am not in the room to watch her thrash (and stay asleep). So I got breakfast together and prayed and sang, and cried a little. I'm okay, but it's exhausting to be anxious. And Jesus commands us not to be. I tried to have open hands and an open heart, and to let go of control.
I'm feeling a little better right now, but could really appreciate your prayers.

Luckily, babies only change once, at three months, so after we get through this rough patch, I'm golden.

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